Raf is a super little boy. Over the course of the past few months it's also been a challenge to know how to parent him. He's full of such big emotions and often doesn't know what to do with his feelings - and so we've had some episodes of him hitting (us!) and shouting - and quite a bit of grunting. At the same time he's incredibly loving. He'll exclaim that he 'loves' me "to the moon/stars/plant/Rowan's house and back", and then I'll turn the telly off and he'll say that he doesn't like me any more. Goodness, are three year olds fickle! Raf is really good - and getting better - at telling us how he's feeling, though. His favourite emotions are: "so happy, frustrated, cross, and angry", and he can be all of these things within the space of 5 minutes.
Even though parenting Raf is perhaps more difficult these days because he's simply more assertive, independent, and emotionally aware, it also means that he's beginning to shine in other ways. He's kind and thoughtful and really, really funny. Yesterday he came to my office and saw a picture on my wall that he thought I'd painted. He said, "good job on that painting, mum", and that morning, when I said he couldn't come to work with me, he responded, 'oh, okay, I'll call you later on the phone'. He's just growing up much too fast.
As raf's language improves we're also beginning to see how able he is. Today when I picked him up from school, his teacher commented on how 'smart' Raf is. Given our concerns with his language development this has been really wonderful to hear. Raf is really good at puzzles. Here's one he completed all by himself. This was more impressive to me because the pieces of this puzzle were all mixed up with a couple of other puzzles. He was so proud of himself. He's also really good at constructing train tracks, counting, and understanding how things work. Every day we go past a windmill and he describes how it needs wind to work and how it produces power, and so forth.
His confidence has also grown when he's on his scooter and bike. Last year it was torture to walk around the neighbourhood with him on his bike as he's last about 3 minutes before he was done - and it was a very painful walk home. Now, though, he's buzzing around the block.
So while it can be exhausting it is also a lot of fun to be with Rafi. Having patience (which is sometimes in short supply) makes things one million times easier because Raf responds well to empathy and he's much more cooperative the more understanding we are.